Members of the Chicago City Council Hall of Shame: Top, from left: Edward Burke (14th); Sandi Jackson (7th); William Beavers (7th); Willie Cochran (20th). Middle row, from left: Arenda Troutman (20th); William Carothers (28th); Ambrosio Medrano (25th); Edward R. Vrdolyak (10th). Bottom row, from left: James Laski (23rd); Thomas E. Keane (31st); Ricardo Muñoz (22nd); Patrick Daley Thompson (11th).

Members of the Chicago City Council Hall of Shame: Top, from left: Edward Burke (14th); Sandi Jackson (7th); William Beavers (7th); Willie Cochran (20th). Middle row, from left: Arenda Troutman (20th); William Carothers (28th); Ambrosio Medrano (25th); Edward R. Vrdolyak (10th). Bottom row, from left: James Laski (23rd); Thomas E. Keane (31st); Ricardo Muñoz (22nd); Patrick Daley Thompson (11th).

Sun-Times file photos

Chicago City Council Hall of Shame: Ed Burke becomes 38th member convicted in half a century

That averages out to one council member convicted every 16 months. Burke is the first since former Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson less than two years ago.

Ed Burke has seen ‘em all — and now he’s joining their ignominious ranks.

Chicago’s longest-serving alderperson worked alongside all 37 previous City Council members found guilty of a crime since 1973. This week a jury tagged him as No. 38 in the chamber’s caucus of convicts.

The Southwest Side political kingpin goes down as perhaps the biggest fish caught yet by federal prosecutors, with racketeering, bribery and attempted extortion convictions that were secured partly due to Burke’s famously fishy question.

“Did we land the, uh, tuna?” he asked during a wired-up conversation with then-colleague and federal mole Daniel Solis, the disgraced ex-25th Ward council member who has so far avoided joining the City Hall of Shame — officially, at least — because he cooperated with the feds.

Burke, who likely faces prison time in his 80s, saw his fate sealed about 22 months after the last alderperson to face a guilty verdict: Patrick Daley Thompson, a one-time rising star of the storied Daley political dynasty who went down for cheating on his taxes.

That’s actually a dry spell for Chicago when it comes to council corruption convictions; 38 of them over the past 50 years average out to one every 16 months.

Flanked by family members and attorneys, former Ald. Edward Burke (14th) walks out of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse after being found guilty of racketeering, bribery and attempted extortion.

Flanked by family members and attorneys, former Ald. Edward Burke (14th) walks out of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse after being found guilty of racketeering, bribery and attempted extortion.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Burke and Thompson are among the few Hall of Shame inductees to take their cases to a jury. Others facing criminal charges over the past five decades often pleaded guilty, avoiding trial.

Another was ex-Ald. Percy Giles, who was convicted in November 1999 of taking bribes in the federal Operation Silver Shovel investigation.

That was a busy year for corruption. The West Side council member was the second to stand before a jury in the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in 1999. Ald. Virgil Jones (15th) was found guilty that January of accepting $7,000 in bribes from a mole in Operation Silver Shovel.

In 2013, City Hall veteran William Beavers faced a jury in the Dirksen building in a headline-grabbing trial. But the self-proclaimed “hog with the big nuts” already had moved on from the city council to the Cook County Board by then.

Burke becomes the first alderperson convicted from the 14th Ward, where he amassed his vast political clout since first taking over for his late father in 1969.

Ed Burke walks towards his West Elsdon home after being found guilty in a federal corruption trial, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023.

Ed Burke walks towards his West Elsdon home after being found guilty in a federal corruption trial, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Other wards have seen more council members leave in shame.

Convicted in 2019, Ald. Willie Cochran was the third from the South Side’s 20th Ward, following in the sad footsteps of his predecessors Arenda Troutman and Cliff Kelley.

Two other wards — the Southwest Side’s 23rd and the Northwest Side’s 31st — also count three former alderpersons on the list.

The ranks of the fallen also include the West Side father-and-son duo of William Carothers (28th) and Isaac “Ike” Carothers (29th), convicted nearly 30 years apart of unrelated crimes.

And there’s Ambrosio Medrano (25th), the Grover Cleveland of Chicago corruption, earning a place on the list three times for three separate corruption scandals.

The former Southwest Side politician was first convicted in 1996 for accepting bribes. In 2014, two federal judges presiding over separate cases handed Medrano a total of 13 years in prison over corrupt deals involving bribes and kickbacks. Medrano left prison in 2020 as part of an effort to release inmates who are at risk of contracting the coronavirus.

So, dating to 1973, here’s Chicago’s Hall of Shame. Some on the list appear for crimes that occurred after their time on the council, including Beavers, James Laski and Edward Vrdolyak.

The list includes only those actually convicted — not those indicted who have not yet gone or never did go to trial — in the interest of keeping it to a manageable number.

Fred Hubbard (2nd) — 1973
Pleaded guilty to embezzling.

Joseph Jambrone (28th) — 1973
Convicted of taking bribes.

Ald. Casimir J. Staszcuk (13th) in 1967

Ald. Casimir J. Staszcuk (13th) in 1967

Sun-Times archives

Casimir J. Staszcuk (13th) — 1973
Found guilty of extortion for demanding $9,000 in exchange for allowing three zoning changes. Also convicted of mail fraud and income tax evasion.

Joseph Potempa (23rd) — 1973
Pleaded guilty to taking a $3,000 bribe to support a zoning change in his ward and for failing to report that income to the Internal Revenue Service.

Ald. Frank J. Kuta (23rd) in 1971.

Ald. Frank J. Kuta (23rd) in 1971.

Chicago Sun Times archives

Frank Kuta (23rd) — 1974
Convicted of taking a $1,500 bribe from a builder to approve a zoning change and for failing to report that income.

Thomas E. Keane (31st) — 1974
Convicted of mail fraud and conspiracy for a scheme involving the purchase and resale of tax-delinquent properties.

Ald. Thomas Keane leaves the federal courthouse in 1974 after he is sentenced to five years in prison.

Ald. Thomas Keane leaves the federal courthouse in 1974 after he is sentenced to five years in prison.

Sun Times file

Paul T. Wigoda (49th) — 1974
Convicted of tax evasion for failing to report a $50,000 bribe related to the rezoning of the Edgewater Golf Club. He was Keane’s law partner.

Ald. Paul Wigoda, shortly after a jury found him guilty in 1974,

Ald. Paul Wigoda, shortly after a jury found him guilty in 1974,

Chicago Sun Times files

Donald T. Swinarski (12th) — 1975
Pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return in connection with a $7,000 payoff for a zoning change. Later became a state senator.

Edward T. Scholl (41st) — 1975
Convicted of taking bribes.

Ald. Edward T. Scholl (41st), left, in 1971; Aid. Stanley M. Zydlo (26th), right, in 1967.

Ald. Edward T. Scholl (41st), left, in 1971; Ald. Stanley M. Zydlo (26th), right, in 1967.

Chicago Sun-Times archives

Stanley Zydlo (26th) — 1980
Pleaded guilty to paying a bribe.

William Carothers (28th) — 1983
Convicted of attempted extortion.

Ald. William Carothers (28th) in 1981 (left) and his son, Ald. Isaac “Ike” Carothers (29th), in 2010.

Ald. William Carothers (28th) in 1981 (left) and his son, Ald. Isaac “Ike” Carothers (29th), in 2010.

Sun-Times file

Louis P. Farina (36th) — 1983
Convicted of extortion.

Ald. Louis P. Farina (36th) in 1976.

Ald. Louis P. Farina (36th) in 1976.

Sun-Times file

Tyrone T. Kenner (3rd) — 1983
Convicted of taking bribes.

Chester A. Kuta (31st) — 1987
As part of the Operation Phocus investigation of bribe-taking by city licensing and inspection officials, Kuta pleaded guilty to charges of filing a false income tax return and extorting $5,370 from Leonard Kraus, who paid the bribes to maintain a flea market in Kuta’s ward.

Clifford P. Kelley (20th) — 1987
Pleaded guilty to taking bribes.

Former Ald. Wallace Davis Jr. (26th) posing across the street from his restaurant, Wallace’s Catfish Corner, during a 2007 comeback attempt in the 2nd Ward.

Former Ald. Wallace Davis Jr. (26th) posing across the street from his restaurant, Wallace’s Catfish Corner, during a 2007 comeback attempt in the 2nd Ward.

Keith Hale/Sun-Times file

Wallace Davis Jr. (27th) — 1987
Convicted of extortion.

Perry Hutchinson (9th) — 1988
Pleaded guilty to taking bribes.

Ald. Marian Humes (8th) in 1984.

Ald. Marian Humes (8th) in 1984.

Jack Lenahan/Chicago Sun-Times file.

Marian Humes (8th) — 1989
Pleaded guilty to taking bribes.

Fred Roti (1st) — 1993
Convicted for bribery, extortion and racketeering.

Ald. Fred B. Roti (1st) listens to a City Council debate at City Hall just hours before he was indicted in in 1990.

Ald. Fred B. Roti (1st) listens to a City Council debate at City Hall just hours before he was indicted in the federal government’s Operation Gambat corruption investigation in 1990.

Rich Hein/Sun-Times file

Ambrosio Medrano (25th) — 1996, 2014
In 2014, a federal judge said Medrano pulled off an “unprecedented ... corruption trifecta” that included his role in a scheme to take bribes and kickbacks to sell bandages to public hospitals, along with another conviction that year, after his 2 ½-year sentence in the 1990s for accepting bribes.

Ambrosio Medrano in 2014.

Ambrosio Medrano in 2014.

Jessica Koscielniak / Sun-Times file

Allan Streeter (17th) — 1996
Pleaded guilty to extortion.

Joseph Martinez (31st) — 1997
Pleaded guilty to holding a ghost-payroll job after he served on the City Council.

Joseph Martinez in 1981.

Joseph Martinez in 1981.

John White / Sun-Times file

Jesse Evans (21st) — 1997
Convicted of racketeering and extortion.

Joseph Kotlarz (35th) —- 1997
Convicted of theft and conspiracy for skimming $240,000 from a 1992 tollway land deal.

John Madryzk (13th) — 1998
Pleaded guilty to taking part in a ghost-payrolling scheme.

Ald. Larry Bloom (5th), center, talks to reporters in 1991.

Ald. Larry Bloom (5th), center, talks to reporters in 1991.

Chicago Sun-Times archives

Larry Bloom (5th) — 1998
Pleaded guilty to a felony tax charge stemming from the Operation Silver Shovel corruption investigation. Admitted taking $14,000 in bribes from an FBI mole. The demise of the independent alderperson and “self-appointed conscience” of the council added “a new wrinkle to Chicago’s corrupt political legacy,” a Chicago Tribune reporter wrote: “A place so crooked, even the reformers are on the take.”

Virgil Jones (15th) — 1999
Convicted of taking bribes.

Ald. Virgil Jones (15th) in 1999.

Ald. Virgil Jones (15th) in 1999.

Sun-Times file

Percy Giles (37th) — 1999
Found guilty of taking payoffs and tax evasion.

James Laski (23rd) — 2006
Pleaded guilty to taking $48,000 in bribes related to the city’s Hired Truck Program. His conviction stemmed from his role as city clerk.

Edward Vrdolyak (10th) — 2008 and 2019
Though he never was convicted for anything related to his role on the council, authorities have since convicted him twice in corruption-related schemes.

Ald. Edward R. Vrdolyak on Election Night at the Bismarck Hotel’s Democratic Party headquarters in 1982.

Ald. Edward R. Vrdolyak on Election Night at the Bismarck Hotel’s Democratic Party headquarters in 1982.

Sun-Times file

Arenda Troutman (20th) — 2008
Pleaded guilty to bribery and tax charges, admitted extorting developers seeking zoning preferences.

Isaac “Ike” Carothers (29th) — 2010
Pleaded guilty to bribery, mail fraud and tax fraud for taking $40,000 in home improvements, meals and sports tickets from a West Side developer in exchange for zoning changes that netted the developer millions. William Carothers was his father.

William Beavers (7th) - 2013
Sentenced to six months and fined $10,000 after being found guilty of tax evasion.

Cook County Commissioner William Beavers, third from right, after being found guilty in 2013.

Cook County Commissioner William Beavers, third from right, speaks after being found guilty on all counts at the Everett M. Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in 2013.

Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times file

Sandi Jackson (7th) - 2013
Pleaded guilty along with her now-former husband, former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., to schemes relating to the looting of his campaign committee. Sandi Jackson pleaded guilty to filing a false federal income tax return.

Willie Cochran (20th) — 2019
Pleaded guilty to wire fraud for spending money on personal expenses that was taken from a ward fund meant for charity.

Ald. Ricardo Muñoz  (22nd) at a Chicago City Council meeting in 2018.

Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22nd) at a Chicago City Council meeting in 2018.

Rich Hein/Sun-Times file.

Ricardo Muñoz (22nd) — 2021
Pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money-laundering, admitting he took nearly $38,000 from the Chicago Progressive Reform Caucus to pay for personal expenses such as skydiving and a relative’s college tuition.

Patrick Daley Thompson (11th) — 2022
Convicted of two counts of lying to regulators and five counts of filing false federal income tax returns. Afterward, one juror told the Sun-Times she’d never heard of the Daley family before the trial and still wasn’t sure who they were. “I might Google it,” she said, before adding that she might not, because she has “better things to do.”

Edward M. Burke (14th) — 2023

Convicted of 13 counts of racketeering, bribery and attempted extortion in a series of schemes that included holding up developers’ projects unless they hired his private legal firm. Those who didn’t could “go f--- themselves,” Burke said during one wired-up conversation.

Flanked by family members and attorneys, former Ald. Edward Burke (14th) walks out of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse after being found guilty of racketeering, bribery and attempted extortion.

Flanked by family members and attorneys, former Ald. Edward Burke (14th) walks out of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse after being found guilty of racketeering, bribery and attempted extortion.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

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